News Blog: Looking at the ’08 draft through Future Watch goggles

Here’s an interesting look at how the 2008 NHL draft would have unfolded had it happened today rather than last June.

We do it with the help of the 22 NHL scouts who helped us put together our Future Watch issue. Future Watch 2009, now available on newsstands, ranks the top 10 prospects for each organization and top 75 across the board. It’s an accurate and unbiased glimpse into the future because of the volume of scouts on our voting panel.

We asked the scouts to project which prospects will have the most impact five to 10 years down the road. We’re not concerned with the age of the prospect as much as the projected upside. Therefore, we have prospects on our top 75 list taken in each of the past four or five drafts.

Not surprisingly, 26 players drafted in 2008 finished among the top 75. For this exercise, we didn’t include the eight 2008 draftees who were playing in the NHL at the time. Clearly, they’re NHLers now, not prospects. They are: Steven Stamkos (1st overall), Drew Doughty (2nd), Zach Bogosian (3rd), Luke Schenn (5th), Mikkel Boedker (8th), Joshua Bailey (9th), Luca Sbisa (19th) and Viktor Tikhonov (28th).

There would have been an interesting shift in the 2008 draft order according to the progress assessments stemming from the voting results of our scouting panel.

For example, Nikita Filatov finished first in Future Watch 2009, while Alex Pietrangelo finished fifth. Yet, Pietrangelo went fourth overall in the draft to St. Louis and Filatov sixth to Columbus. Would the Blues have taken Filatov instead today given the choice? Maybe not, because a lot depends upon the team’s needs. But the fact remains, scouts like Filatov more than Pietrangelo today.

Finishing third in Future Watch 2009 is goalie Jacob Markstrom. He was drafted 31st overall by Florida. Re-do the draft today and he’d surely move up into the top 10 or 12.

The biggest mover is center Evgeny Grachev, taken 75th overall by the New York Rangers in 2008. Among 2008 draftees on the Future Watch top prospect list, Grachev was 10th. Re-do the draft now and he’s surely go in the mid first round.

The biggest mover the other way is Kyle Beach, taken 11th overall by Chicago. By all rights, he should have been the fifth highest ranked 2008 draftee on our Future Watch list. Instead he’s 17th among 2008 draftees. That’s a drop of 12 slots. Keep in mind, however, the Hawks drafted Beach that high because of their need for a power forward and they are not unhappy with his development.

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Here’s a list of the 26 draftees from 2008 who made our Future Watch top 75 prospect list. Information includes the team that drafted him, in which slot, his ranking in Future Watch, and the plus/minus direction he’d move if the 2008 draft was re-held today according to the rankings of our 22 scouts.

1. Nikita Filatov, Columbus, 6th overall, 1st in FW09, plus-1 slot in draft re-do

2. Cody Hodgson, Vancouver, 10th overall, 2nd in FW09, plus-2

3. Jacob Markstrom
, Florida, 31st overall, 3rd in FW09, plus-20

4. Colin Wilson
, Nashville, 7th overall, 4th in FW09, minus-1

5. Alex Pietrangelo
, St. Louis, 4th overall, 5th in FW09, minus-4

6. Erik Karlsson
, Ottawa, 15th overall, 7th in FW09, plus-3

7. Tyler Myers
, Buffalo, 12th overall, 9th in FW09, minus-1

8. Zach Boychuk
, Carolina, 14th overall, 16th in FW09, no change

9. Jordan Eberle
, Edmonton, 22nd overall, 17th in FW09, plus-6

10. Evgeny Grachev
, N.Y. Rangers, 75th overall, 19th in FW09, plus-57

11. Chet Pickard
, Nashville, 18th overall, 22nd in FW09, plus-1

12. Tyler Cuma
, Minnesota, 23rd overall, 24th in FW09, plus-4

13. John Carlson
, Washington, 27th overall, 27th in FW09, plus-7

14. Colten Teubert
, Los Angeles, 13th overall, 30th in FW09, minus-7

15. Michael Del Zotto
, N.Y. Rangers, 20th overall, 32nd in FW09, minus-2

16. Joe Colborne
, Boston, 16th overall, 34th in FW09, minus-6

17. Kyle Beach
, Chicago, 11th overall, 39th in FW09, minus-12

18. Jake Gardiner
, Anaheim, 17th overall, 40th in FW09, minus-7

19. Mattias Tedenby
, New Jersey, 24th overall, 43rd in FW09, minus-2

20. Jake Allen
, St. Louis, 34th overall, 45th in FW09, plus-6

21. Thomas McCollum
, Detroit, 30th overall, 57th in FW09, plus-1

22. Greg Nemisz
, Calgary, 25th overall, 59th in FW09, minus-4

23. Vyacheslav Voinov
, Los Angeles, 32nd overall, 60th in FW09, plus-1

24. Aaron Ness
, N.Y. Islanders, 40th overall, 71st in FW09, plus-8

25. Patrick Wiercioch
, Ottawa, 42nd overall, 74th in FW09, plus-9

26. Cameron Gaunce
, Colorado, 50th overall, 75th in FW09, plus-16

First-rounders from 2008 who weren’t part of our top 75 prospects and would have slipped in a draft re-do are: Anton Gustafsson (21st overall to Washington), Tyler Ennis (26th overall to Buffalo) and Daulton Leveille (29th overall to Atlanta.)

Keep in mind this list is based on the blended assessments of 22 scouts and doesn’t take into account team needs or drafting philosophies.